Spring is a busy time of year in my world, and so there are lots of potential stressers that rear their ugly heads. Whether it is in my work life, my home life, my farm life, my business life…when spring rolls around, my stress notches up. And let’s face it, most of us don’t do “stress” well. Spring is the season for renewal, rebirth, life starting back up again after a cold dark winter. It should be bright, happy, clean and fresh…but often, that’s not the case either. Spring on the farm is mud. Beneath the melting mountains of snow is several months worth of:
- trash the dog has scattered
- broken branches from trees
- poop – lots of poop!
And it all gets tracked into the house right? But let’s talk about the house for minute, too. We burn wood for heat – it’s the only heat in our home. We don’t have a furnace, we don’t have baseboards, we have a stove…that burns wood and heats out house quite well….but wood heat is MESSY. First, you have to haul it in from the woodshed, so you track in snow, mud, and muck. Then you drop the arm load of firewood – and you get bark, splinters, leaves, dirt, and pitch. Then, you open up the stove and a cough of ash comes out… Wood heat is messy heat, but it’s still hard to beat! We have fans that run 24 hours a day to circulate the heat from the wood stove, but that also means that any lingering smoke and ash gets blown through the whole house. And we have indoor dogs and cats…so there is hair everywhere, and cat boxes, and muddy dog foot prints – my house is a mess! And I’m not great neat freak…nor is my husband. We are both busy and tend to walk in the door and dump whatever is in our hands on the nearest flat surface…so we have clutter…in a small house, with furry friends who aren’t neat freaks either. I try and make time to sweep up the dog hair, vacuum the hallway and bedroom, and gather up the recycling every week – but it doesn’t always get done….laundry and dishes take priority….usually. I don’t make the bed when I get up – because it’s usually still occupied. I scrub up the basics in the bathroom every couple of weeks – and do a thorough clean when I know company is coming. I keep up on the laundry in the hamper, because if it overflows the cat pees on it. I do the dishes every couple of days, and when I run out of counter space because the clutter is encroaching….then I spend the time and do a deeper clean and declutter. My home is well loved, and lived in. We rarely have visitors, since most of our life happens away from our house – so we don’t spend
much any time making sure we are ready for a better homes and gardens photo shoot. Now, don’t freak out on me…we aren’t candidates for a spot on Hoarding, buried alive…I take my trash out when it’s stinky or on trash day. There are clean dishes put away in the cupboards, and I wipe down my food prep areas with clorox on a regular basis – but I don’t bother to dust, and I don’t wipe my stove down after every meal. There is probably a half empty coffee cup somewhere in the house, and there may be a plate or bowl on the floor the dog licked off. My mirror has toothpaste splatter, and the floor needs to be swept.
But here’s the thing…I’m obsessive about food safety – keeping things refrigerated, eat your leftovers within 3 days, bleach after raw meat, and keeping surfaces that touch food very clean. Especially if I’m cooking for other people! And if I’m doing any sort of bath & body production work (making soap, lotion, lip balm or whatever) you can bet that my work area is SPOTLESS – decluttered, scrubbed up, wiped down with bleach – everything to ensure that there is no “organic contamination”.
Sheesh…see, here in lies the problem…I have the tendency to OBSESS about things. Maybe overthink things is a better term…or not. Or maybe it’s both things…but I get into a cycle of thinking of one thing that is bothering me…pretty soon I’m unable to concentrate on any ONE thing because there are 47 other things I’m thinking about too!
In the past couple of years, I have learned to manage my runaway freight train of thoughts by writing. Writing helps me find the answers that are in clear sight if I would just open my eyes. But I can’t…because I’m too obsessed with the micro thoughts. Just ask Chel…I am out of control when I need to write for clarity. I told her a week ago I felt the need to write about obsessions, and confessed to her again this morning that I still hadn’t done it….and my world is just kind of spiraling into the chaos vacuum right now. Her advice to me…Write your obsessions! then organize them if need be….AFTER you get them down. Right…I gotta Write….
So…things I’m obsessing about in no particular order: flooding, mud, barn cleaning, flood clean up, hay, broken branches, recycling, oil changes, clean sheets, clean eating, chocolate, coffee, bills, book keeping, craft shows, tablecloths, lip balm, beeswax, lotion containers, nitrogen tank, a new couch, a new mattress, new pillows, vegetables, breakfast options, hemming pants, dresses, shoes that go with dresses, recall training, JESUS, time with girlfriends, time to read, pedicures, spa days, upcoming meetings, taxes, end of semester paperwork, edTPA scores, MRKH conferences, making soap, reunions, relationships, humility, pridefulness, devotionals, love notes, being a mentor, and bread.
Ok…let’s see if I can make some sense out of that: Lot’s of spring cleaning types of things – making time and taking the time to do them. These are things I have to either have cooperation and help from the hubs to get done, or I just need to tell him “today I’m staying home to do this:______”. I know I can also spend a little time each evening before it gets dark to do some of it.
Craft show stress – it’s an anxiety thing, do I have enough product, will I remember everything, etc. What tends to happen is I get to the day of and realize there is no more time, and it is what it is…take a deep breath and just do it. (probably good advice for everything…)
Work stress – that mellows itself out as I work through projects and deadlines – so again just take a deep breath and let it go.
Self care – this one is harder for me – but when I’m “on point” with it, all the other stuff seems to take care of itself. I work best on the self care things when I have a plan. When I don’t have a plan, I tend to grab whatever is in front of me in that moment….and I use food as a balm for my stressed out emotional self. But that just starts a downward spiral of negativity and self pity. I need to work to find the balance and think through a plan that I can and will stick to. A balance of healthy eating, and healthy spirit too.
As I’ve been obsessing about writing this post for the past week, and trying to determine what direction I wanted to take it, I’ve purposely taken some time to think about options on those big stress categories and what direction I want to go. I’ve got a few CDs that I cycle through during my commute, and right now a couple of contemporary Christian CDs are in the mix. I couple of lyrics have really struck a cord with me this past week, and I’m trying to put them into practice a bit more.
This lyric is from Breathe by Jonny Diaz:
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
And then this one from Rest by Matthew West:
Rest in the light of My grace
You can rest here while I put all your pieces back in place
Just come unto Me all who are weary and I will give you rest
Shut out the world
Be still and know
That I am Your God
And I won’t let you go
It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist (or me) to allow you to see that the message I CLEARLY need to hear is to just relax, breathe, and trust that God has a plan, and I should trust the plan. (you can roll your eyes here…I certainly did!) Recently I also saw a Facebook meme that read, “When you think you are hitting rock bottom, you are just landing in the palm of God’s hand.” Ok…and now the song we sing each week as we collect the offering – (which is also playing RIGHT NOW on my Pandora) –
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
For the things on earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor and timing – and perfect delivery??? Have a blessed and peaceful week friends!